DigiWriMo 2015 update

I got off to a great start but then tapered off dramatically. Also, much of my word count came from writing prep; not that much was actually finished.

I never got Scrivener Finals Target working so I created a minimal Google Sheets spreadsheet. But it required me to ensure I recorded some reasonably accurate idea of each day’s count at the end of the day before heading to bed. Not sure why I didn’t get Finals Target to work as I had it working for DigiWriMo 2014 and 2012.

Was I successful? However I might want to define that. Before attempting to answer the question, though, let me say that I just don’t care. I lost my motivation early, clearly, and several other events intervened at the end of the month to keep me from making any real progress.

A fairly accurate word count is 27695. I was aiming for 35k so 27695 / 35000 = 0.7912 or almost 80%.

At habitually probing generalist (here) I had 3 posts with one about one of the topics I had hoped to cover and two related to DigiWriMo itself.

At by the barrel I had 5 posts with only one about DigiWriMo and one guest post from my wife. I did not get any homebrew posts written but I did do The Session #105 and a book review.

I also had one post at Commonplacing. Had hoped to get a few more added.

hpg

  • # posts 3
  • Health 0
  • Pilot Butte 1
  • 2016 GIP 0

BBL

  • # posts 5
  • Home brewing 0
  • Session #105 check
  • Book reviews 1

I had almost no engagement with anyone else although I did poke at some of the official blog posts and such from the DigiWriMo crew. I was the only one who could make me write and I would or I wouldn’t. I also had very little interest in pursuing multimodal “writing” projects. Those sorts of things are theoretically interesting but not really my thing.

Success? Whatever.

Trying to wrap my head around moving on to next year. I still have a major project I “failed at” this year ahead of me. It will not go away until it is taken care of. Period. So it is a major project again this coming year. Lots of smaller projects are still projects.

Leaving 2015 behind. Thank you.

DigiWriMo 2015

As I said in my previous post, I have committed to doing Digital Writing Month, DigiWriMo, again this year. I did it in 2014 and 2012 also.

In 2012 my goal was 50,000 words and last year it was 25,000 [see last year’s post to see why]. This year …. This year … has been ….

Maybe we’ll learn about this past year during this month. And I sincerely mean that collective ‘we;’ I hope I can learn something from all of this.

This year I am aiming for 35,000 words digitally. “Sure,” you say. “What counts?” Legitimate but semi-fraught question. I discussed that a lot in my closing 2014 post, “If I Don’t Reach My Goal – Have I Failed?

But this being my third year now I am a bit more relaxed. I certainly won’t be counting every last tweet and text and Facebook status update [not that I ever did] and …. But some of them will.

I hope to have a fair few posts at this blog and also at my beer blog, By the barrel, or Bend Beer Librarian. I also keep my daily journal in Scrivener so those words are being counted automagically since I have set up Project Targets and will copy anything I want to count into t/here [I draft my posts in Scrivener also].

Some of the things I hope to write about are health issues and responses, Pilot Butte progress and goals, The Session #105 (beer blog), and laying out my 2016 Goals Ideas Projects. If you paid attention to my UnCV that I posted earlier you may have noticed some things about my health and about how I set myself up this year with my goals—with the help of those health issues, by the by. I’d like to write about much of that.

I am also, finally, heading down the homebrewing road. I’ve taken classes, helped people, read a zillion books about it—some even at technical levels far beyond me—and have now signed up for the same class a 2nd time. The class happens entirely during November except for the very last one so assorted thoughts on homebrewing will hopefully show up on my beer blog.

Like I wrote last year, “If any of you are participating in some kind of writing month in November let me know if you would like some support and hopefully we can find a mutual venue.”

::hangs head:: I know I owe Ranger feedback on dog stories from last year. Still.

I have no excuse and I won’t offer any but this last year can go … .

For Rachel and for her namesake I leave you with Jackson Browne’s For A Dancer [YouTube].

“… until the dance becomes your very own …”

I will miss you both for as long as there is a me. In the meantime, I learn to dance.

Pilot Butte Inspiration

I walked to, around and back home from Pilot Butte again this morning. Early in the trip, as I started to swing around the south side from the west to the east the low morning sun was directly in my eyes and casting long shadows all the way around to the northeast side. The assorted high desert grasses were glistening in the sun from the frozen dew still clinging to them.

The various playing of the light, amongst other wonderful things, was very inspiring this morning. I started thinking about how I was looking forward to when I can finally say I ran the base trail. I also decided I was looking forward to my next summiting, and especially—more long-term, of course—my first summit running the entire way. The Pilot Butte Challenge is barely a dream at this point.

On the way home I started thinking I ought try and make a small observation of my hike—kind of like Dave Bonta does from his porch each morning. I focused on the sunlight and glistening grasses from earlier. I had a couple thoughts and wrote them down as soon as I got home, quickly hashed them out and then tweeted my 1st #PilotButte observation:

Blistering low morning sun casting lengthy shadows : the high desert grasses wear glistening mantles. #PilotButte

https://twitter.com/mrlindner/status/565184974928609280 ]

I may try and keep that up. I do want to pay attention also as I get exercise. The spiritual may be as important as the physical right now.

Clearly the inspiration was evident in my next tweet:

Hey #inBend runners, I haven’t bought a pair of tights since the last century. What do I need to know about 21st-c running tights?

https://twitter.com/mrlindner/status/565205249808281600 ]

While I was walking I realized that if I wasn’t going to wait until high summer to run outdoors I will need tights. I may have a pair still but, if so, they are at least 20 years old and worn out. A nice colorful new pair sounds like just the thing to provide a little inspiration of their own.

As I stated previously, I am attempting to walk around (or up and down) Pilot Butte an average of 1x/week this year. So far, I have accomplished this 9 times and we’re only in week 7. I am also attempting to complete the Century Club this year but if I meet (or exceed) my average then I will have.

I am also attempting to walk a minimum of 8 mi/week knowing I still need to get my average up to that point. To this point my averages have been:

  • Week 1*: 3.2 mi
  • Week 2: 7.4 mi
  • Week 3: 5.27 mi
  • Week 4: 10.85 mi
  • Week 5: 7.83 mi
  • Week 6: 2.98 mi
  • Week 7: 6.25 mi^
  • * Week 1 was only 1-3 Jan (Thu-Sat)
  • ^ This week still has four days and I will be walking a decent bit, I hope, in Astoria Friday through Sunday.

So last week was a bust. Oh well. It happens. The weather was somewhat unpleasant for a while but not sure what was the real issue.

Back at home this morning, after a delicious homemade 2nd breakfast, I realized I should look at Runkeeper to see what kind of elevation change I face on this walk.

Screen capture from Runkeeper showing my pace and elevation change across my hike this morning

My pace and elevation change across my hike this morning. I love that the pace is still dropping at that elevation spike between 1.9-2.3 mi.

Looking at those numbers I decided to screen shot it and tweet it:

I may be seriously out of shape but Pilot Butte & I are coming to terms. (Home to base trail around to home.) pic.twitter.com/HY79LGB4or

https://twitter.com/mrlindner/status/565242435283214336 ]

My time just keeps improving and I wasn’t even particularly working it this morning. I am not sure what is making me unhappy lately but this—all of it—I am very happy about.

10th Blogging Anniversary

Today, 29 January 2015, is my 10th blogging anniversary. Public blogging anyway. My 1st public blog was on Typepad and was called … the thoughts are broken…. It is a line from the Grateful Dead’s Ripple. First post: So, what is this about, and for?

The blog has been many things over the years and as of Jan 2013 I have had two more of them. I used to do a weekly “Some things read this week …” post of serious things read seriously and there were a couple years of hardly any blogging and now this month of January 2015 I already have posted 32 reviews of graphic novel and manga. WTF is that?! Not doubt many other odd juxtapositions could be found. Graphic novel reading challenge that I got off to a far better start than imagined possible is the “the” of the WTF, by the way.

As for 10 years, I’m stuck between saying, “So what?” and wanting someone to do a serious multi-faceted analysis but seeing as that would only be me the hell with it. I guess I can’t quite just say “So what?” either.

I as said, it was initially called … the thoughts are broken…, then became Off the Mark (Jul 2006), and has been habitually probing generalist since July 2009. The story of naming(s) can be found in the assorted posted linked below. Some are anniversary posts and some are more about naming or somehow seem relevant to me.

Anniversary posts

29 Jan 2005 Inaugural post

12 Jan 2006 Sort of a pre-anniversary post

29 Jan 2006 1st anniversary post and metaphors of orality

2008 3rd anniversary post and LISNews Top 10

Let there be songs to fill the air.”

2009 4th anniversary

“She found me in an alley and my life will never be the same.”

6 years later: I had no idea how true that statement would become and how deep it could resonate, nor did I have any idea the state of good represented by the proposition.

2010 5th anniversary [good shorthand version of history]

Other posts

20 Jul 2006 Welcome to Off the Mark Name change the first

20 Oct 2006 habitually probing generalist: the story of a label

20 Jul 2008 Mark has been Off for 2 years 2nd anniversary of Off the Mark

19 Jul 2009 habitually probing generalist Name change the second

24 Jan 2013 Two new blogs

Some numbers and a list

  • Most posts/month: 50 in May 2005; 2nd is 43 in November 2005
  • Most posts/year: 371 in 2005; 2nd is 296 in 2006
  • Least posts/year: 6 in 2013; 2nd is 10 in 2014
  • First month 0 posts: November 2008
  • Longest stretch no posts: 9 months (23 January – 22 Oct 2014); 2nd is 5 months (21 April – 22 September 2013)

As one can see above and definitely below, I got off to an amazing start. The content was highly varied back then too. I have no idea how I managed the first few years as I was a full-time grad student and worked 20 hours/week. Clearly I was generating a large quantity of writing for my degree(s) work also. Crazy.

It was a heady time and many of us—students and otherwise—were cranking out so many words trying to have discussions and move the field along: Chad, Joy, Jenica, Dorothea, and so many others. Some are still around; some aren’t. Some are in different venues and I couldn’t point you at the old “them” if I wanted. That’s fine; I just wish the reasons were less innocuous than they are in a few cases.

In my 1st year (actually a little less as am going to calendar year end not 29 Jan), I posted over 31.7% of all existent posts. In 2006 it was 25.3%, in 2007 18.8%, with 2008 (4th year) being the first year to be under one-tenth of the total at 7.6%. So in my first two years I posted 57% of my content and by the end of the third has posted 76.1% of it all. Wow!

Then again, over 33 posts before January ends (as I am already at on the 26th; with a couple more in draft for Jan.) has, well …. Well. Look at that. It has never been done before. The most in January was 27 in 2006 and then 20 in 2007. Ha. Go, me!

Number of posts per month by year

2005
Jan 8
Feb 18
Mar 23
Apr 42
May 50
Jun 29
Jul 30
Aug 23
Sep 34
Oct 41
Nov 43
Dec 30
Total 371

2006
Jan 27
Feb 28
Mar 35
Apr 32
May 17
Jun 20
Jul 17
Aug 23
Sep 20
Oct 22
Nov 30
Dec 25
Total 296

2007
Jan 20
Feb 31
Mar 10
Apr 21
May 30
Jun 21
Jul 17
Aug 17
Sep 13
Oct 15
Nov 10
Dec 15
Total 220

2008
Jan 16
Feb 11
Mar 11
Apr 11
May 11
Jun 10
Jul 5
Aug 6
Sep 6
Oct 2
Nov –
Dec 1
Total 90

2009
Jan 4
Feb –
Mar 2
Apr –
May 2
Jun 1
Jul 2
Aug –
Sep –
Oct 1
Nov 1
Dec 1
Total 14

2010
Jan 1
Feb 3
Mar 2
Apr 4
May –
Jun –
Jul –
Aug 6
Sep 9
Oct 11
Nov 2
Dec 4
Total 42

2011
Jan 7
Feb 5
Mar –
Apr –
May 1
Jun –
Jul 4
Aug 5
Sep 2
Oct 1
Nov 3
Dec 4
Total 32

2012
Jan 6
Feb 4
Mar 2
Apr 3
May 1
Jun 4
Jul 2
Aug 1
Sep 2
Oct –
Nov 24
Dec 6
Total 55

2013
Jan 2
Feb 1
Mar –
Apr 1
May –
Jun –
Jul –
Aug –
Sep 1
Oct –
Nov –
Dec 1
Total 6

2014
Jan 2
Feb –
Mar –
Apr –
May –
Jun –
Jul –
Aug –
Sep –
Oct 1
Nov 4
Dec 3
Total 10

2015
Jan 32 (25 January 2015)

2005-2015 1169 posts total

Cheers for making it all the way down here. I have no idea how this blog will continue to manifest but I am still saying things, even if much less (here), so will keep it. I honestly wish I had more time to read back through it. The 100s of 1000s of words I wrote contain a few good ones, along with a couple excellent ideas. It shows a fragmented, erratic, (somewhat) incoherent path but it was mine.

There is also a lot of insight and wisdom in the comments by others. I want to thank every last person who made one or more since the beginning.

I’m still “sewing.” I’m still listening. I keep trying to make some sense but … the thoughts are broken ….

Thanks to all who were along for the ride and those here now and in the future.

Peace and love.

Kick-Off Surroundings

I was unable to participate in the Digital Writing Month Launch Party celebration so this is my response, particularly to the Kick-Off Surroundings bit.

The kick-off happened at 12:01AM UTC 1 November which was 5 pm Halloween here in Oregon. I had just closed the library at a few minutes after and then had to catch a bus to the bottom of the hill to meet some folks. I was also having a discussion with one of my usual patrons while waiting. I did check my phone for the kick-off post and had a quick look. Saw I wouldn’t get any done on time. No worries. I was with friends and had a good grip on ideas already.

We were supposed to accomplish three tasks within the 1st hour:

  • Who are you? Post a Vine to Twitter, due by 20 min.
  • Where are you? [Environment] 3 photos to Twitter, due by 40 min.
  • What are you going to do? [Goals] Roster and abridged version to Twitter

I was not going to bother with the first. Just not interested. And that’s OK. “The point is creation; the method to the madness is up to you.” Sean Michael Morris in Invention, Ambition, Fearlessness: Digital Writing Month 2014

Sure. The idea is to push one’s boundaries, creativity, and so forth. I plan on doing that. And while I may well ignore some of the prompts and perhaps not participate in everything, I did the same last time. Some of the new things I did to push my limits worked and some didn’t. That’s OK, too.

This post serves as my Kick-Off Environment post, which stands in way “late” for the three tweets. I did post my goals to the roster and had earlier tweeted my goals but did so again. It was definitely after the party was over by a couple hours but not many folks got to that part anyway.

Photo #1

Dr. Evelyn Crook and Mistress Quantum Sum before Halloween tarot readings for the Humane Society at Broken Top Bottle Shop & Ale Café.

Dr. Evelyn Crook and Mistress Quantum Sum before Halloween tarot readings for the Humane Society at Broken Top Bottle Shop & Ale Café. [somewhat processed]

Sara and Emily prior to giving their first readings of the night. They were doing Halloween tarot readings for charity at our local, Broken Top Bottle Shop & Ale Café (BTBS). When I got there, Sara was with three of our friends who I joined until they headed out. Not a whole lot later another couple friends, along with two more new-to-me friends, joined me for much of the evening. While we love BTBS we do not spend many Friday evenings there. Halloween was a lot more mellow than I figured it’d be though.

Photo #2

Cooler case and BTBS sign [heavily processed]

Cooler case and BTBS sign [heavily processed]

I am (consciously) unclear as to what this image means to me or the story I am trying to tell. I have an as yet undiagnosed illness, since this summer, that is playing havoc with me in many ways. For some reason this appealed to me. I, and Sara, spend a lot of time in front of these colors. They are a refuge, of sorts. This image is anything but refuge-like though. The unprocessed image is. So. This. Is a story element. Yet to be fully realized.

Photo #3

Temperance tarot card [little processing]

Temperance tarot card [little processing]

For the significance of this photo you will have to read my next post, which is thankfully 95% written already. Past me doing current me a favor [Wickett’s Law/Rule].

This was a large part of my environment for the kick-off of Digital Writing Month 2014.

Temperance. Am going to have to spend some time with that concept.

DigiWriMo 2014

I have committed to participating in Digital Writing Month 2014, more commonly known as DigiWriMo, this November. I did it its first year in 2012 and made my goal of 50,000 digital words. Most people who know November as a writing month know it as National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo. There is also Academic Writing Month, AcWriMo. Wikipedia says there’s an Academic Book Writing Month, AcBoWriMo but that’s a new one on me. Well, on Twitter there is no #AcBoWriMo but there is plenty of #AcWriMo.

I have been driven to write lately—perhaps driven by the mysterious and as yet undiagnosed illness; which is neither here nor there. I have so many ideas and there are tons of old ideas not finished, or ever even fleshed out, to work with.

Preparation has involved recording these ideas as they occur and corralling old recorded ones too, prepping my Scrivener project file (my writing tool), and spending more time learning to use it well.

This year my goal is ≥ 1k words/day, with a total of ≥ 25k words/November. Yes. I am aware of the missing 5 days. I am trying to be gracious with myself. [If this illness can possibly help teach me that idea then, OK, I’ll take the rest. I’m not counting on this being an actual lesson, though.]

I do not know how much I will do with the, thankfully, re-expanded DigiWriMo folks’ official efforts but I will be “playing along at home” at a minimum. I certainly hope and plan to interact a fair bit. I just have to manage my stress triggers and adding a #digiwrimo twitter search window to my already overflowing two twitter accounts for a month ….

I also recently acquired a new phone making the leap from an iPhone 4S to a 6. I had been eligible for an upgrade for well over a year and $200 was the most they were ever going to give me anymore for my 4S. Or that anyone was going to give me. For a lot of hoops and a delay of several weeks, I got to pay roughly $100 and a $35 activation fee to move from a 16GB 4S to a 64GB 6. I took that deal.

It was particularly tempting as I use both TextExpander and 1Password on my computer. They have also both been on my phone but were basically useless. Finally iOS 8 allows them both to be useful. [Sadly, I will not be putting iOS 8 on my iPad 2. It is struggling already.]

The point of all this is that having those 2 programs actually doing good work on my phone may let me use it to do just a couple more tasks than I would’ve before. Also, the bigger screen isn’t to laugh at with my old eyes. They will also allow me to more productively write digitally even though what I “write” on my phone will still be pretty damned minimal.

Some of what I write will be public, much as now although even more will be. Much will be kept private. I really want to start doing a better job of journaling, in a couple senses of ‘journal.’ I hope DigiWriMo will spur me to do so, or at least take advantage of the illness’ urging me to do so. I hope to get a few more blog posts up here and definitely more written on By the barrel.

Poetry, 2015 goal planning, book reviews, tweeting, and all sorts of other writing endeavors are on the docket. Some of the topics I hope to address, whether public or not, include Facebook, gender labels (as language), gender on labels (as in depiction of on beer labels), sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, body image, altered consciousness, and many others. We will see what happens.

If any of you are participating in some kind of writing month in November let me know if you would like some support and hopefully we can find a mutual venue.

What’s up so far in 2014? Home buying, it seems

[N.B.: Mostly written 6 January with minor updates over next 2-3 days. Current follow-up follows.]

So what’s up in 2014 so far? 2014 got off to a great start. For one day.

Sara and I do a kind of annual review, along with a semi-annual review and weekly reviews using assorted tools such as calendars, OmniFocus and some text documents. Neither of us do resolutions but we do want to have goals for the year, and to check up on them now and again so that we might have a chance to actually accomplish most of them. We entered 2014 with this year’s annual review pretty much done. Mine was primarily complete except for final formatting as a document in Scrivener.

Then on the 2nd of January the mail was delivered. Our place was recently bought by some out-of-towners and we got notice that our rent was going up 15%! We are already stretched pretty thin and that is just ridiculous. We immediately jumped into “can we buy a house” mode. We have been considering that anyway but we figured it was at least 6 months to more like 2-3 years in the future for us. Nope. [We need to find out right now whether we can get a loan for enough to buy a house here in Bend or we need to find a cheaper place to rent until we can qualify for said loan. If we can get a loan then we need to be seriously looking for a house that meets all of [ok, much of, hopefully]  our criteria.

Either way, (update to follow)] almost everything I had planned for this year has now been indefinitely placed on hold. My 2014 annual review/plan has been scrapped by the second day of the year. Yay, me!

Thankfully a lot of stuff is still in boxes from when we arrived here in August 2012. That will make moving somewhat easier. But we also have not weeded out near enough stuff that we were supposed to have gotten rid of by now. And we have probably acquired more stuff than we have gotten rid of. My surgery in May put in a big damper on my weeding which I had hoped to do this past summer. Sara’s full-time job has prevented her from making any progress on her stuff.

I have jumped into weeding pretty heavy the last couple of days and hope to continue. We’re donating a bunch of stuff to the Humane Society Thrift Store, some of the better books to the public library, and recycling a crapload of stuff. There is, sadly, plenty more to go through though. As we free up a bit of room by getting rid of stuff I have a bit more room to get at and sort through even more. So I guess one can say it’s looking up.

It is, though, extremely demoralizing to have just committed to and documented one’s goals for the year and to then have to toss it all away on January 2nd.

So what were/are some of my plans for 2014?

  • Read 75 books http://marklindner.info/blog/2014/01/01/reading-goals-2014/
  • Wrangle our ebooks into some kind of order, usability, etc.
  • Do some more beer tastings
  • Help with Central Oregon Beer Week
  • Do another book talk this year for Central Oregon Beer Week
  • Meet some of the beer folks in Bend who I haven’t been able to yet
  • Do some beer trading
  • Finish my “article” on Prohibition in Bend
  • Perhaps work on my Cicerone certification
  • Blog some book reviews that I am way behind on
  • Learn to make better use of Evernote, OmniFocus, Scrivener, etc.
  • Meal planning
  • Get my new tattoo started
  • Track down a citation for that damned Paracelsus quote or show that it is not attributable to him
  • Exercise more and get back into some semblance of shape
  • Visit some places in Oregon: Broken Top, lava tubes, Crater Lake, etc.

23 January update:

We found a house, put in an offer, got their counter and accepted. We have the inspection set for Saturday a.m. and are meeting with the mortgage broker tomorrow morning to do more paperwork and get VA appraisal scheduled. If all goes well with those we’ll be moving late winter / early spring.

I have been in full-on moving prep mode for about a week now. I am so damned sore. But. I am much closer to being ready. I have a good idea of what is packed, more stuff was topped off and packed and many binders and articles were packed, it is mostly segregated from other stuff, and the inventory is updated. More books were weeded.

We should have a couple weeks to move in. It kind of comes down to when we close and the 30-day notice we give our landlord. Current estimated closing is March 17.

My only big concern is weather. Well, and will my aging body hold out: preferably for it to treat all the labor as weightlifting and other “good” exercise. Seriously though, moving in the rain or a snowstorm or having ice/snow on the ground are the worst for moving. So far our winter has included almost none of any of that, which is not good. We need snow, at least outside of town.

It is all moving so fast. Which, of course, has deepened even more the feeling of upended plans. Not all is a loss, though. I am reading some and not quite as slowly as I suspected. I am helping with Central Oregon Beer Week as a member of their team this year. If you need me for any Central Oregon Beer Week business feel free to email me at mark@centraloregonbeerweek.com. I am trying to figure out what I want to do as Bend Beer Librarian for COBW; not up for another book talk for this year. Considering things and talking with people but need to decide soon to save 15% as a returning sponsor.

I met a few more Bend beer people, including one I wanted to meet in person, but, intriguingly, we met them in Portland. We attended the 1st Big Woody put on in Portland and a boatload of Bendites were there as attendees, volunteers, brewery folks representing, and event organizers/staff. That was nice and I finally met Matthew Ward (Bend Brew Daddy) and his wife Lisa. Definitely hope to hang out more with them. We also got to spend some time with non-Bendite but extremely nice guy Christopher (PortlandBeer.com) at Hair of the Dog. So possibly future trading and/or nice bottle swaps as it sounds like his are the kind of quality we are looking for. Maybe we can get Christopher to Bend, although we explored so little of Portland last weekend.

Blogging and other forms of writing have been practically non-existent, book reading is way down, research for either major topic of current interest is on hold, and most other projects listed above or not are pretty much forgotten about.

I hope this place works out and we can get settled in quickly. I’d like to get back to some of my projects recently put on hold and others, many of which have been a long time coming.

It is an adventure, and so far easier than expected, but its timing seems a little sudden.

 

 

If I Don’t Reach My Goal – Have I Failed?

Title unabashedly borrowed from this post by Jane Boyd, the timing of which couldn’t be better. I have been thinking about this more and more lately the last few days as it becomes more than apparent that despite getting off to a great start and keeping up for the first half of the month that I now will probably not make the goal of 50,000 (counted) words for DigiWriMo. As I write this (27 November AM) I need a tad under 10,500 words to reach it.

 So the question is this; by not reaching my original goal – have I failed?  Perhaps yes….perhaps no.  I’m not going to agonize over it.  Instead, I’m celebrating the various things that I have done and that I will continue to do in the days to come.

Now, I told myself before I even committed that not making it would not be an issue as long as I had actually begun writing again. So, thankfully, there’s that.

And I most certainly have been writing. You (whoever you are reader, and from whatever venue you are reading my words from) have probably not seen all of those words. And did I really not make 50,000? It depends on how one counts. So, how (and what) did I count?

I have been using Scrivener to draft in and/or store what I am counting. Scrivener provides a great tool—Project Targets—that not only counts your total but lets you set a timeline for your project and then gives you daily writing goals and tracks your progress toward those along with total progress. There are also ways to simply count your words without using the Targets but this suited my purpose better.

My Scrivener desk top

A screen shot of my Scrivener desktop with some folders collapsed and the Project Targets window up.

You can see the full-size picture on Flickr.

Counting

Blog posts – I draft in Scrivener, including pasting in all of the URLs I need for the post, and then paste the complete draft into the WordPress editor and get to work formatting. A fair few words end up not getting counted because they are “behind the scenes”—link text; alt descriptions, titles, etc. for photos. Once the post goes live, I highlight everything from the last tag or keyword up to the title of the post and copy that and then paste it over the draft in Scrivener. Any comments I make on the post—usually in response to someone else’s comment—gets copied and pasted into Scrivener at the bottom of the post; just mine, not others comments.

I have several potential posts drafted. Some may get posted—in November still, or later—some may not see the light of day. But I wrote them—whatever they amount to—so they count.

Tweets – At first I was only counting tweets that were directly DigiWriMo related and carried the #digiwrimo hashtag. I copied the text of each tweet and pasted it into a single Scrivener doc called “Tweets sent” that had a small rule placed between each date. I also pasted in the link to the tweet, which made up for the loss of link text, etc. in blog posts and other things not counted but nonetheless written digitally.

Eventually I noticed that I was having serious conversations—short as they may be—with others via Twitter that were intended to convey or ask for information about topics important to the participants, so I started counting those also. Not every tweet I sent was counted though since some were just goofiness. Still, it could be argued that all should count as they were written digitally. I say “Count what you want.”

When I post to my blog I routinely send out a tweet about it. I also post that same content into Google+ and Facebook for those folks in those venues who might be interested but for whatever reason don’t use RSS. Believe me, in Facebook anyway, I can get a lot of comments regarding my blog posts; more than on the posts themselves usually. ::sigh:: I only counted the tweets though, not the duplication into the other two venues. I could justify an argument for doing so but I don’t want to.

I also did not count retweets or favorites. Favorites I mostly use as a bookmark feature, although I do use it sometimes as a “Well done!” comment to the poster. Retweets are trickier since I am usually throwing them out there as a potential aid to conversation/commentary. Nonetheless, they take so little work that I chose not to count them.

Poems – I did not write many poems but a few were written (or co-written) and posted in assorted places. I took part in the DigiWriMo midnight launch party joint poem writing. Of the rest, two can be found on the blog—a poem written a couple years ago but I that had failed to put up after it was published and the rights reverted to me and one about my experience in the first #digped chat. One was my vignette for the group-written novel and included a doggerel poem written as a fan letter to Digi the Duck, one was a Twitter poem, and two were posted to Facebook since they were in response to a prompt given to me there by a friend (Jess). I have one in draft that is based on the Twitter Trending Topics during the midnight launch party but I never got very far with it.

Book-spine poems, inspired by Andrew McGregor, made up another five blog posts, including one that was a meta-poem about book-spine poetry. Compiling my list of book titles for possible use—only ones I own so far—provided me with 1885 words. I also have a few (very rough) drafts put together. I definitely hope to do more of them.

My journal – I am counting my journal, which I keep in Word, although with any luck no one will ever see it. I write it digitally and I do consult it on occasion, besides whatever benefit the writing of it provides. It used to serve as the genesis of  what became ~20 mix CDs that served as musical journals, many of which I gave away copies as gifts. So I paste my journal entries into Scrivener every couple days to be counted.

Book reviews – Many of these end up as blog posts but some only get put in Goodreads. I did not count both versions if they are in both, only the blog version. I also have a few draft reviews started. Sadly, these are the ones I came into the project with. One is long overdue. Oh well.

Fiction – I wrote a very short story (218 words) comprised entirely of one syllable words based on a prompt my friend (Jess) provided. I am also working from another prompt given to me by my daughter to write something based in the Girl Genius universe. At first I shrunk from that one a bit because as much as I love Girl Genius I don’t think I can do it justice. But then I had a brilliant insight as to how to write a mashup of Girl Genius and Gail Carriger’s The Parasol Protectorate series. No! I am not saying what it is. I want it to be a surprise since whether or not I pull it off successfully the idea itself is brilliant. Brilliant, I tell you. I kind of think it won’t be done for DigiWriMo either but that is OK. I want to make it as good as I can since I really enjoy both series.

Assorted – Not counting: As I said above, many tweets did not get counted, nor did much of what (little) I did in Facebook. I also did not count text messages of any sort although they clearly constitute digital writing and often mundane but nonetheless important communications to me. I also do a fair bit of data entry in a couple of spreadsheets for books read and books purchased and am starting a beer purchase history one. None of that has gotten counted. Also, my entries in the Untappd ap  take a fair bit of work with all the selections and ratings to be made even if in the end not that many words are actually typed. Not counted. Oh, no email counted.

Other things that I am counting: I started a list of issues for the new doctor will be going to visit soon since we moved; draft blog posts on liminality in my life, a comment policy, a review/commentary on two movies, draft book reviews, moving to Bend, Facebook promoted posts and businesses that primarily rely on Facebook for reaching customers, digital scholarly editions, and a few other odds and ends; and poem drafts.

Projected stuff – I had hoped to write a short Twitter novella but never found a story line and I had hoped to write more Twitter poems—haikus and similar short things.

Branching out – I was fairly successful in branching out by trying my hand at a group poem, a group novel, the Twitter vs. Zombies game, book-spine poetry, short fiction (of one-syllable), and an intended fiction mashup.

Prompts – I culled prompts, actively and passively, from many places. Some came from DigiWriMo directly, like the opening night party’s group poem, and later Twitter vs. Zombies and the group novel.

I started the month with a list of ideas, which my wonderful wife also contributed to. Some of the things she suggested were that while writing about moving to Bend that I try to answer the question,” What would I show to visiting family/friends?”, a list of areas for growth/learning over next couple of years, and some commentary on things not read, that is, things acquired with the full intention of getting to quickly but that fell by the wayside.

Other DigiWriMo participants contributed some through their own efforts or by directly putting out prompts. The idea for book-spine poetry came for Andrew McGregor. A poem and commentary came from the first #digped chat. I saw a few other prompts from DigiWriMo folks in various places but never got around to acting on them. A few days ago I goaded Jeff Brackett into posting the list of 51 that he had on Twitter and culled the following in a first pass:

  • Prompt 2: Select one Tweet & expand into blog post #DigiWriMo
  • Prompt 3: Choose one #DigiWriMo participant; comment on work and encourage them
  • Prompt 4: Why are you *not* writing? #DigiWriMo
  • Prompt 5: Turn ideas from one song from playlist (or radio) into Blog post #DigiWriMo
  • Maybe you can substitute some words/topics to generate new prompts #digiwrimo // thanks!

I also put out a request on Facebook on Black Friday and these are the responses I got:

Jess:

  • Pick a line/syllable restriction that appeals to you (3 lines/7ish syllables per line usually feels do-able to me even when I’m stuck) and poem it up. Tell me what you see, what you smell. Be a reporter in verse.
  • Write a short short story (I’m not picturing more than a double-spaced page, here) entirely in one-syllable words.
  • Write a creative non-fiction short story, but from the point of view of one of the other people involved.

Stacey: How about a blog post on Why the Humanities matters? 😉

Sara (daughter): Something in the Girl Genius universe?

Laura:

  • When I was a child, I loved…
  • Whenever I smell ____, I am reminded of…
  • I first learned about sex from…

I took on a few of those, as mentioned above, and am working on some of the others. I want to heartily thank everyone who has directly inspired me, challenged me, and supported me this month!

I have a fair few things in the pipeline ready to post but I think I will spend the next few days primarily writing. The goal is to write 50,000 words digitally and make some of them available and not to post 50,000 words. As of these words that I am currently typing, early in the morning of 29 November, I have 44,268 words. I am so very close. This post itself may or may not get posted before midnight Friday as it contains an awful lot of links and formatting in WordPress still takes a fair bit of time and effort.

Final words:

I actually made 50,000 words at 3:20 pm 30 November during the last #digiwrimo twitter chat with this tweet:

These 20 words will reach my #digiwrimo goal of 50k words on Friday afternoon, 30 November 2012. Go me! Win!

It also include this picture:

Success!

I had a good time, met lots of interesting people, many of whom I look forward to interacting with again, learned some things, have a ton of things drafted up and ready to post to the blog, and also have some interesting projects to work on further.

I send a hearty “Thank you!” to all partcipants but especially to Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer), Sean Michael Morris (@slamteacher), and all the others at Marylhursts’ English & Digital Humanities program for hosting, driving, and inspiring Digital Writing Month.

 

Thoughts on book-spine poetry and a meta-poem

Recently I started writing (composing? arranging?) book-spine poems. I have been aware of them for a while now but have never tried them. Library Thing has, for instance, done it, and they seem to be inspired by Nina Katchadourian and her Sorted Books project.

I was recently reminded of them and inspired to try my hand at them by @admcgregor3 who I met through DigiWRiMo. Here is the post he shared that nudged me to tryHere is another.

I asked him whether there were any rules (that he followed) and he said “no rules. I just do what I think fits…”.

So here are my thoughts on what I am doing; no real rules but some guidelines for now:

  • Books are stacked from top to bottom—may try some left to right vertically—in reading order.
  • They may or may not have a title.
  • Use the pages side (opposite the spine) of a book as spacer between title and poem or between stanzas or for whatever reason I need space.
  • Subtitles will be generally ignored, although I am free to use as I like.
  • Punctuation may be added freely at the ends of lines but, for now, I will retain punctuation present in a spine title.
  • Generally, one title per line of the poem but free to do as I please.

I also could not resist making a book-spine poem about book-spine poetry, a sort of meta-poem, if you will:

This delicious madness (image 1) - pile of books

This delicious madness (image 1)

This delicious madness (image 2) - another pile of books

This delicious madness (image 2)

This delicious madness

Signs of writing
Describing language;
Mediated
Mimesis.

Reverence
Connected
The image
Beyond snapshots.

Seeking meaning,
Man and his symbols
Desire
Figures of thought.

This craft of verse:
Transformations,
Evidence,
The contrast.

How it seems to me:
Verses and versions
Shout out
The art of looking sideways.

My poems so far:

And to see some others around the interwebz just do a Google Image search for book-spine poetry (with or without the hyphen).

No idea how far I’ll take this or how long I’ll continue to putter with it but I have lots and lots of book titles at hand to work with.

 

Cascades Crossing

Pale purple irises along US 20 in Willamette National Forest

Pale purple irises along US 20 in Willamette National Forest, Oregon

Cresting the summit we move from high desert and pine, pine, pine to mixed forests, moss and ferns and a colorful, changing assortment of wildflowers. Pale purple mountain irises call me to turn around on the narrow winding road. A cascade not-so-gently gurgles and pulses alongside the road, sometimes visible and sometimes not. The raucous remnants of fires past are replaced by the quiet of dripping water.

Mountain stream along US 20 in Willamette National Forest, Oregon

Mountain stream along US 20 in Willamette National Forest, Oregon

This is based on my first experience with crossing the Cascades, from the high desert to the rain forest side, back on 11 June 2012. We were on our way from Bend to Corvallis for Sara’s second interview. Her first was at OSU-Cascades in Bend earlier in the day and the second was at OSU (proper) in Corvallis the next day. We were taking US 20 and the Santiam Pass through the Willamette National Forest.

The change was dramatic and almost instantaneous, although it continued to gradually change and to get wetter and wetter. There are, of course, many microclimates in both regions. Eventually we emerged from the forest into the Willamette Valley and another kind of lush growth, a far more managed growth.

The initial thoughts (between the two top photos) were written down the day after, about 18 hours after the experience.

The high desert side seems to primarily consist of juniper, assorted pines, and a variety of small shrub-like plants, with wide open space on the ground beneath the canopy. The colors consist of mostly browns and grays from the ground up into the trunks of often massive trees. Only in the upper reaches of the trees where needles remain and in the leaves of some of the bushes is there much green. Up near the summit, black becomes frequently prominent in the burnt and charred remains of trees and on the soil itself from the more frequent forest fires, and in the exposed, alien looking terrain of past volcanic cataclysms.

Once over the pass the greens quickly intrude. Everywhere. The pines and conifers are less scraggly. More and more deciduous trees force their way in. Ferns and other low-lying, often flowering, plants begin to fill in the spaces between trees. The plants force their way up to the roadside and begin to close off the view into the forest. In short order, moss is hanging from the trees. Everything is a riot of green with little room for other colors, except the assorted wildflowers seen along the roadside, and even they are surrounded and nourished by green. Even the browns of the tree trunks are quickly covered in mosses and vines and all sorts of green.

Water can be heard splashing along somewhere near the edge, sometimes nearer, sometimes receding. Glimpses can be seen—through the dappled light—of a growing mountain stream. As stream after stream spills into it, it quickly becomes the South Santiam River, which more or less parallels US 20 for much of the way down into the valley, first on the left and then on the right.

The only other time I had driven over true mountains was in Europe—Southern Germany through Switzerland to Mont Blanc and so on. But there, the changes are not nearly so dramatic. Certainly they are dramatic but in vastly different ways. Then again, it has been many years since that trip. I have been in or along assorted other mountains—Ozarks, Blue Ridges, and a few others—but, again, the changes are not so dramatic, at least not along my direction of travel.

I may have been driving the rented car but nonetheless the profound changes grabbed me in my soul and settled deeply. We have been over the Cascades a few more times since, although we have taken some different routes along with the same one but in reverse, and the changes are equally profound no matter which way you cross the Cascades from Bend to Corvallis or Eugene or Portland. I hope to make the crossing many more times and even to spend a fair bit of time up their on foot. I only hope that it won’t be in winter.

The included photos are of the pale purple irises that called me to turn around and of the mountain stream cascading near the road.

Pale purple irises along US 20 in Willamette National Forest, Oregon

Pale purple irises along US 20 in Willamette National Forest, Oregon

Thank you, my love, for bringing me to Central Oregon.